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I wanted to do a “Day in the Life” post to document what life has been like this summer with two kids, before all of our fall activities (school, Bible Study, and Cubbies) start up next month. In some ways, I’m still in newborn survival mode; Colton watches more TV than I normally find acceptable and you’ll notice I don’t have any blocks of time devoted to cleaning. And, while I’m not exactly proud of these things, I think this is fairly typical when you add in a new baby, and it is what life these days is like for us. And while there are some frustrations, like my husband working 70 hour weeks, I’m loving these days and want to remember what they’re like.

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Today is Tuesday; Colton is three years, two months and Nathan is two months.

2:45 – Alarm goes off. Time to get up.

2:47 – Back up alarm goes off as I head downstairs. Sometimes I sleep through the first one, so I always turn my back-up on. I spend about 30 minutes pumping; I usually only pump for about 30 minutes, but since I haven’t pumped since 9, it takes me a little longer.

3:30 – Back upstairs and to bed. Over the past week I’ve skipped pumping at 11:30 and found that I’m actually getting about an ounce more over the course of the day! The downside is that now that I’ve gotten a good, five hour stretch of sleep and have been awake for over half an hour, its hard for me to go back to sleep. I spend the next two and a half hours in and out of sleep.

6:15 – Alarm goes off.

6:17 – Up!

6:25 – Colton is up and wants Daddy to fix him his waffle (we have our freezer stocked with homemade whole wheat ones). Nathan screams while the waffle is fixed; I try to hold him, but can’t do a whole lot since I’m already hooked up to my pump.

7 – I shower while my husband eats, washes bottles and pump parts for me. Colton watches TV while Nathan hangs out in his bouncy seat.

7:30 – I collect all our laundry, since we have quite a few shorts and underwear that need washing due to either accidents or playing in wet sand. Colton briefly locks me in basement while I’m starting the Laundry. He can and does let me out without a fuss; a good thing since my husband was upstairs, totally oblivious with his phone ringer turned down so low he can’t hear it.

7:45 – Nathan is screaming in his bouncy seat. He’s ready for his first nap, so I wrap him in his Miracle Blanket, lay him in his crib, and he’s off to dreamland.

8:10 – Finally have breakfast hot and ready to eat!

20130821-092024.jpg8:30 – I’ve finished eating and unload and load dishwasher. Colton is playing “animal keeper” in his room.

20130821-092041.jpg9:00 – I take C’s school supplies and a return I need to make at the mall to the van and bring in the super cool matchbox car display I got from my grandparents’ house. Then, I get Colton set up with Mighty Machines and a snack (blueberries).

9:20 – I get ready pump and feed Nathan. Just as I’m getting ready to start, Colton has an accident by the potty trying to get his underwear and shorts down. I have to stop before I start to clean that up. 10 minutes later, he goes in the potty, but needs help wiping and getting his undies back on. I’m already pumping, but since he can bring me his wipes and take them to the trash can, I take care of that, but have to stop feeding Nathan. Poor baby!

20130821-092106.jpg10:00 – Nathan is fed, Colton is wearing new shorts, and we’re off to the grocery store! We wander all over the outside of the grocery store, first looking for a car cart, when when we can’t find one, its back off to the other side for a little cart. C pushes his, I push a big cart (to hold our reusable bags and diaper bag since we don’t need a lot today), and N rides in the wrap. He passes out during check-out, and thankfully stays happy and goes back to sleep when I put him in car seat (normally he screams immediately upon removal).20130821-092136.jpg

11:20 – Home from the store and everything is unloaded. Nathan’s asleep, Colton’s playing, and I decide to I want to make muffins! The store had 99 cent blueberries, and we’re home sooner than normal, so it seems like the perfect opportunity! Nathan wakes up, so I put him on the counter in his Bumbo to “help.” (He is fully on the counter, not near the edge, and I stand right by him, which makes me comfortable doing this, even though the Bumbo is meant to be on the floor only.) Colton sees this and requests that I make “little Colton-sized muffins” and that he be allowed to help. He sneaks Skittles, his potty reward, while I fill the muffin tins – little stinker!20130821-092225.jpg

12 – I put the muffins in oven and plan to pump right away. Then I realize mini muffins don’t take as long to cook, Colton goes potty and I need to empty it, get Skittles, etc., and Nathan is happy, so I decide to wait until all the muffins (mini and regular) are finished cooking. By that time, Nathan is crying and ready to eat!

12:20 – I feed the baby and pump, while Colton watches Mighty Machines. When we finish, I serve Colton the two muffins he requests. He takes a bite of one and declares he will save them for later. I put him in the jammies he brings me and send him to his room for nap.

Can you find Colton? This is how I found him when I went to check on him later.

Can you find Colton? This is how I found him when I went to check on him later.

1 – I’m starving so I grab a muffin while I fix my lunch (wrap with peanut butter, banana, and a few mini chocolate chips). Nathan starts out happy, but quickly descends into unhappy wailing. I scarf my food and get him down for a nap. Then I get a few minutes to myself to look at some potential new freezer meals my friend sent me, wash bottles, and blog.

1:30 – Nap time for Momma! I grab Nathan’s monitor and bring it upstairs with me. He’s normally upstairs with me for this nap, but since he’s already asleep in his room, I leave him be.

20130821-092313.jpg3:00 – I’m up and folding laundry while both boys are sleeping. I always try to get up at least 15 minutes before I need to pump so I have a few minutes to do something useful.

3:15 – I’m feeding Nathan and pumping.

20130821-092338.jpg3:30 – Colton is up and asking to get out of his room; I put a gate up when I nap, just in case he wakes up and I’m still asleep. I finish pumping, let him out. He potties and I get out his prize for doing a great job of wearing underwear and keeping them dry — a Matchbox car city. He’s been potty training for exactly a week now, and while he hasn’t been totally accident free, his few accidents the past couple of days have come while he’s trying, and he’s finally not protesting underwear, so I deem it time for the big reward he’s been wanting for quite some time.

4:15 – The City is put together and I take Nathan to his room to play on his playmat and have tummy time while Colton plays with it.

20130821-092352.jpg4:45 – I change clothes so I’m ready to go to the gym after my next pumping session. Nathan starts to get fussy and Colton is playing happily, so I spend some time just rocking him in his room. After he’s been asleep for five minutes, Colton comes in and wants me to play City with him.

20130821-092400.jpg5:30 – I heat up dinner and start eating. My husband gets home right as I’ve started eating, so he grabs his food, heats it, and joins me. Normally, we eat together, but since I’m going to a class at the gym, I need to make sure I eat before I go, and he wasn’t sure if he’d be home in time to eat with me before it was time to feed Nathan.

5:50 – Nathan is suddenly starving, which is surprising because he ate really well last time. My husband feeds him and I pump.

6:15 – I’m out the door and on my way to Yoga at the gym. This is currently the only class that fits my schedule and current ability level. Its only my second class, but I’m going to make an effort to attend it every week, at least until I feel able to take other classes. It’s packed tonight and seems harder than last time, but I feel great afterwards, especially since the last five minutes are devoted solely to relaxation. Ah!

7:50 – Home! Colton and Daddy are racing, and then Daddy gets Colton ready for bed while I hold Nathan.

8:30 – Popcorn time! I also finish an episode of The Tudors I started earlier. Side Note: I really like this show, but there is so. much. sex. And they are long, gratuitous scenes. I keep watching because I like the story line, and it seems like every other episode either has no sex, or is very light on it, but the next its just everywhere. It doesn’t get better, does it? Is there a similar show with less gratuitous sex?

8:50 – I pump, my husband feeds Nathan.

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This is the typical Nathan face — he’s usually either happy or asleep!

9:20 – Upstairs to get ready for bed! Then its my new favorite time of the day — hang out in bed with my husband and Nathan. Nathan is so happy and smiley, and its just a great way to unwind and spend some time with my husband and tell him anything notable and cute that happened that day.

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9:40 – I’m zonked. My husband will do some work downstairs until he feeds Nathan at 11:30 (Nathan sleeps through this feeding) and comes to bed himself.

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On Saturday (sorry for posting this again, but I love it and it's the best photo from the day I have).

On Sunday.

It’s been one crazy winter.

Recently, Hubby and I watched X-Men First Class, or as my husband likes to now call it, The BEST Movie Ever. Now, I didn’t really think this was the best movie ever made, but there was one scene in particular that caught my attention.

Professor X is talking to Magneto, trying to get him to control his powers. Magneto had only been able to access his powers by channeling his rage, but X suggests he finds a place “between rage and serenity” instead. Looking into his mind, Professor X pulls out Magneto’s happiest memory, a simple one where he and his mother appear to be celebrating Hanukkah. Moved, Magento replies, “I forgot I still had that memory.”

I started wondering what my happiest memory is. Is it something that I have almost forgotten to remember?

Several years ago, traveling home from college with just my dad, I asked him what the happiest day of his life was. I remember thinking it would be something like the day he got married, or when my brother and I were born, but he surprised me. His happiest day happened when I was five, my brother three, and we were on vacation in the mountains. I have a vague memory of ridding on my uncle’s shoulders and watching my dad throw a paper airplane off a mountain right before we left. It was a good, simple day.

My happiest memory? I’m not totally sure, but I know it’s not a big one, like the day I got married or the day Colton was born.

I think, maybe it’s Hubby coming home from work, packing up the baby and dog and going on walks last summer. Or hanging out at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium in Tennessee and then getting pancakes this spring. Or maybe it’s that one night this fall when Colton, Hubby  and the dog were all in the kitchen with me, underfoot – a little crazy, but wonderful.

None of those days were perfect. When we went on those walks I was still healing, and they were slow and sometimes painful. That night after the Aquarium, Colton refused to sleep in his own room. That night, I’m sure Colton drove me nuts pulling out and throwing every piece of Tupperware we own.

But the feeling in that moment was wonderful.

Sure, sometimes the big things in life are equally wonderful, but I think these little moments we hardly know we remember are what makes life wonderful.

Last Thanksgiving, I was raiding my grandparents’ dresser drawers for photos to include in the book we gave them for Christmas. My grandmother keeps lots of things in guest bedroom dresser drawers – newspaper clippings, empty picture frames, thank you notes, old Christmas cards, and tons and tons of pictures. Side note: MeMe would be an awesome blogger if she understood what blogging (or the internet) was. She has years and years of photos of different holiday table displays and decorations, some she got my grandfather to take while she stood proudly in front of her dining room buffet. She’s so cute!

In my search for pictures of her adorable grandchildren, I stumbled upon something much better than thank you notes from high schoolers and random newspaper clippings. It was a Date Book, made by Hallmark for either 1948 or 1949. It was intended for a young lady to use to keep up with important dates in the lives of her family and friends, like birthdays and anniversaries. Instead, my grandmother used hers as a record of dates she went on, the men she went with, and gifts and cards she received after those dates.

It was very interesting to see who she went on dates with – some of them were names I recognized has husbands of her long-time friends. One of the funniest things I saw was a three week block of no dates, “RESTRICTION” written boldly across it. Turns out, she and her twin sister, along with another friend had left their college campus without permission for the weekend.

My grandfather, who played football in college, tells a story I love of finding out the school was going to give a new car to his head coach after a game. Prior to the game, he asked if he could borrow the coach’s car to take his girlfriend on a date. “Clanton,” the coach replied, “I only got one car, but if I had another I’d let you use it.” So, after the game, he took my grandmother out (along with another couple, I think) in the coach’s car. They drove all night and returned the car with almost no gas left in it because, “we were in college and we had no money.” My grandmother recorded this momentous occasion in her date book with, “Ray took us out in Coach Howard’s car!!!!” Gotta love the extra exclamation points. I loved seeing her note, with at least double exclamation points, when she received telegrams from him as well, most notably when he traveled all the way to Massachusetts for a football game.

The most surprising thing though, was seeing that she went on a date with another man the day before my grandfather proposed! She noted the other man was quite upset with her (wonder why, MeMe?). I did ask about all the dates with so many different people, and was informed that’s just what everyone did back then. In college, my grandmother wasn’t allowed to leave her dorm in the evening unless she had a date, and the date had to sign her out of her dorm. She says she was only ever serious about my grandfather and that everyone she went out with knew that; but, she liked going out, so if getting dates was the way to do that, by golly she was going to do it.

I looked for this book again during my most recent trip to my grandparents, but I didn’t have any luck finding it. I hope it hasn’t been hidden from my prying eyes, because I so want to take pictures of it!

A month ago, we went down south to visit my parents. We lucked out with the timing of our trip and got to enjoy 80 degree temperatures. And 80 degree temperatures mean a trip to the beach!

We took Colton the beach around Christmas last year, but this was his first full beach experience, complete with sand, swimsuit and shovel. He loved knocking down Daddy’s sandcastles.

He loved the water too; the beach trips were a success. However, he did not enjoy being hosed off after his beach trip.

We also enjoyed some walking and nature watching at a local nature preserve. There were lots of pretty views, but not so much wildlife.

Side note: I went on a field-trip here in the 5th grade. A field-trip that involved getting in the mud. The mud that sucked me and another girl down so far we had to be pulled out by our teacher. I was lucky, my mud sucking trauma was fixed  by a change of clothes, but my friend was sent home for a shower. Pluff mud STINKS (literally).

We also paid a visit to my grandparents, who hadn’t seen Colton in over six months. This is far too long to go without seeing your only great-grandchild.

Colton thought playing with his great-grandmother was soo much fun! Both my grandparents loved having Colton around and watching everything he did. They also told me the way he carries and pats his Blue Bear is exactly like what I used to do with my baby dolls. Cute!

A few weeks ago, we took Colton down to South Carolina to watch the Clemson Tigers play Florida State. All of my collage-age cousins attend Clemson, as does my brother, one cousin has already graduated from there, my parents are both alumnus, as are my grandfather and great-uncle.

We have to indoctrinate the kid early to keep him away from the Hokie vibes that abound around here.

Colton is not a fan of loud noises, and it is LOUD in Death Valley. He was super clingy for the first quarter, but really found his stride during halftime, when the bands played. I made a mistake and ran off to the bathroom with my mom and the diaper bag, while Hubby and my dad took the baby into the stadium. I came in to a very, VERY unhappy baby because PAP was in the diaper bag. We might have avoided first quarter clingy-ness if I hadn’t made such a rookie mistake.

Hanging out with Nona while waiting for food.

We were able to tailgate with my uncle, aunt, aunt’s sister and her husband, my brother and three cousins. We hadn’t seen them in a while, so it was nice to be able to hang out with them before and after the game. There were lots of people to watch and entertain Colton as well, which is always a plus.

Nona wouldn't let Colton play with sticks, leaves or dirt, but my brother did!

Studying the game.

The game itself was a little scary, but we won, so all was well in the end. It was also HOT that day. Lucky for us, we were in the most shaded area of the stadium, but Colton had to take off his overalls due to heat. He was not into drinking much water, so my mom and I took turns feeding him ice from a diet coke the adults shared. He loved “eating” the ice, and I loved that it kept him cool and hydrated.

This was a great experience, and since Colton was older, it was actually a lot more fun than last year. I totally recommend doing this – with a little planning, flexibility, and enough adults (we had four!), this is a totally great, fun day!

My grandparents are typical older people. They enjoy napping, visiting friends, eating at Ruby Tuesdays, going to church and people watching. They also adore being grandparents, so it wasn’t surprising that they volunteered to pick me up from the airport near them when I flew in from college for Thanksgiving several years ago.

The airport nearest them is located near the interstate, and you have to drive down one long stretch of highway from their town to get out there. There’s a bit of a seedy stretch out there, where a very small strip club (strip shack, if you will) is located.

For quite some time, the sign outside advertized “live girls.” Apparently, my grandparents found this hysterical. “What else would they have – dead girls,” they would remark to each other every time they drove by. No doubt they had laughed about it on the way to pick me up.

Of course, we passed the strip shack on our way back to their house from the airport. But this time, something was different. Instead of a few cars simply parked in front, this time, there was a woman, a woman wearing a skin tight cropped shirt, very short and tight purple mini skirt, and thigh-high heeled boots. I would have expected my grandmother to turn her head and ignore the woman. Instead, she started yelling “I see one! I see one! I see a live girl!” Then, she did the most unexpected thing. She turned to my grandfather, who was driving, and said, “Did you see her? Did you see the live girl?” “No. No I did not.” “Well turn around,” she admonished, “I want to make sure you see the live girl!”

Thankfully, my grandfather had the good sense to just keep on driving.

This year was my very first “official” Mother’s Day, which means it was the first Mother’s Day I carried a baby around outside my body. Last Mother’s Day, I looked something like this:

At any rate, I wasn’t expecting much for the day, mostly because my Mother’s Day present (a cover for my e-reader) had already arrived and was in use, and because, growing up, my family was never one to make a big deal over Mother’s Day. The general reasoning behind that was, I suppose, the fact that we were expected to help, appreciate, and respect our mother all year round. I’m sure it had nothing to do with me burning the pancake pan in an attempt to make my parents breakfast in bed when I was ten.

Me, Mom, and Colton

Me, Mom and Colton

Not to mention the fact that my parents were here to celebrate my dad’s birthday, my birthday, and Mother’s Day. So, even though we had cake, it was leftover birthday cake. And frankly, that suits me just fine.

This is what I looked like this Mother's Day. Substantially better, I think.

My mom may have gotten the shortest end of the Mother’s Day stick this year, as she baked the birthday cake, babysat overnight, cleaned my house (yes, I love my mom!), and then had to drive five hours to her in-laws. Colton gave her some baby-love too, so I’m hoping that made up for it.

The best part of Mother’s Day was Colton’s baby dedication. This is held every Mother’s Day at our church, and all of the participating babies and parents walk across the stage, talk to our Pastor and Children’s Pastor, receive a Children’s Bible, and then are all prayed for.

Checking out his new Bible.

My whole goal for this time was to keep the baby happy, and, since the baby is in to standing up and cruising, that meant letting him get down during the prayer.

Check me out!

Woah! A little help here!

Okay, I'm done now. Let's go!

For the past several Christmases, my dad’s parents have said they only want one thing for Christmas: nice cards from their kids and grandkids. And usually we get them for them, but not always. But this Christmas, my mom rounded up my brother, three cousins and I, and had us create a book for them.

Opening Their Present

I created the book using Shutterfly, but each grandchild had their own page where we wrote how much we loved MeMe and PopPop, what we love doing with them, just whatever we feel about them, as well as photos of each of us with them. We also had group pages for things we all regularly did together, with blurbs my mom wrote.

Loving the letters and pictures!

Needless to say, they loved it. Once my grandmother figured out what it was, she got out cards from previous years she kept, which prompted near tears for her and my mother.

MeMe and PopPop with their grandchildren, before their youngest was born.

And really, check out an excerpt from the note my cousin wrote, and tell me YOU wouldn’t be in near tears: “The fact that y’all were always at my sporting events and were always there cheering me on has meant more to me than you’ll ever know. Also thank you so much for raising my dad into the great man that he is today. I love my father and i admire him more than anybody else on the planet so thank you for being such great parents too. Thank for loving my mother and excepting her into your family and allowing her to become the beautiful woman she has become. I am thankful for the influence that you have had in all of our lives and I wish I could express on paper how much y’all have meant to me.” It was longer, but this is the part that really gets me.

PopPop and me

Thankfully, my aunt and uncle, brother and I all have our own copies, so I can read this over and over.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Longbrake Living! We hope you’re enjoying the day with your family (Colton wishes you lots of wrapping paper to play with). We’ll be gone for a bit, enjoying time with friends and family, but we’ll be back soon. And now, off to kick off this time with a game of Lego Creationary!

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

E-mail Me!

Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.